Your worst drinking binge was inspired by a boy. Makes sense that your first hangover would be too. You’ve never been much good at holding down your alcohol. That’s why you swallow so much water when you drink. But this time, it didn’t help.
You check the time. 4.00 a.m. Your mouth feels dry. You want to go downstairs and get some water but your feet won’t move and the room won’t stop. You text your best friend. Pink elephants are drumming in your head.
Your fish lights are off. You don’t remember putting them off. You remember thinking about putting them off, because if you leave the lights on all night, then your fish forget to sleep. You remember feeding the fish, and planning to come down later and put them off. But you don’t remember actually putting them off.
You go back to bed. You know you need painkillers. You have a stash of fifteen. In your desk. At the office. Crap. You check the time again. 4.15. You lie down veeeeery slowly, because sudden moves are costly. Your hangover has a persona and if it figures out that you’re trying to fight it, it’s going to whoop your ass. You send a text to your boss, and his response is touching, if not a little strange.
You check the time. 6.05. You throw on a red hoodie. You go back down the stairs. Slowly. So slowly. Because if you wait five seconds between each step, your hangover won’t notice that you’re moving. You quietly open the noisy metal gate. It’s cold outside. You amble to the closest open kiosk 200 metres away.
The lady at the kiosk watches you. She has a scarf over her nose and mouth. Is she cold or just reacting to your breath? Are your words making any sense? Could the ground stop moving please? She gives you Mara Moja and Eno worth a sock.
You consider making eggs. You hear they’re great for getting boozy toxins down the drain. But no. Scrambling eggs requires too much movement and your motor skills are shot. You text your best friend. She recommends bananas and Nakumatt juice. You figure you should start by imbibing the Eno. It doesn’t end well.
You sit on the kitchen floor, hugging a bucket. You tell yourself you’re not a stereotype, because you’re in the kitchen, not the bathroom. You don’t want to move because the cold tile is oddly comforting. You finish retching and clean up after yourself. Because you don’t want your baby to see a bucket full of puke.
You go back to bed but you can’t find your phone. You panic, search everywhere, but veeeeery sloooooowly. No sudden moves. You give up. You lie down and pretend to sleep but your body isn’t buying it. You look for your phone again. It’s in your back pocket. How did it get there?
You open your phone. You see the all numbers you drunk dialled. Oh God. You can vaguely remember having conversations … but what did you say? Why can’t you remember what you said? Fuck!
You check social media. Twitter. Facebook. You updated your status, apparently. Good grammar, no typos. You can’t have been that drunk. But why can’t you remember typing it? And more importantly, how the hell did you type it? You don’t have Facebook on your phone. You never have Facebook on your phone.
You check your laptop. It’s safely in the hidden compartment above the shelf. Did you take it down, log in, update your social media, and then stash it back on the shelf? Did you install Facebook on your phone, post a status update, and then uninstall? Why can’t you remember?
You pause. You decide to check your inbox. 43 messages. FORTY. THREE. MESSAGES! And some of them have pictures. What the hell … when did you do all this? And what were you trying to say? Clearly, autocorrect and alcohol don’t gel.
You call your best friend. She says she saw the messages and panicked, that’s why she called you. She didn’t know what you were trying to say. You ask her what you said, because you don’t remember chatting … or photographing baskets and sheets. Oh God, what else don’t you remember?
You look at the messages again. You laugh. You have to laugh. Because, really, what were you trying to say? And who forgets typing 43 inbox messages on Facebook? You see a text. It’s from him. He says he’s sorry he put you through this, and hopes you can find it in your heart to forgive him. Uh-oh. You vaguely remember calling him. You’ve been fighting. No. You’ve been fighting. He’s been isolating. He needed space to think. And now he’s apologising. What. the. hell. did. you. tell. him. last. night?!?
You look above the apology. Oh God. Oh. Dear. Sweet. God. There are 57 messages on your phone. And you don’t remember typing a single one of them. You cave in. You call him. He seems excited to hear your voice. It’s the first time he’s heard it in weeks. Because he stopped calling you, and he told you not to call him. No, that’s not true. He heard your voice last night. And you can’t remember what you said…
You talk, or try to. You ask what you’re forgiving him for. For putting you through this, he says. You ask him what you said last night. He laughs, but it’s a sad laugh. He says he’s glad you can’t remember. You ask if he has changed his mind. He asks why you won’t change yours. You both realise there’s nothing left to say.
When you met this boy, you knew he wanted kids and you didn’t. You talked about it over and over, and he said he was okay with not having kids. But now you’ve been fighting a cold war for weeks, because he changed his mind and the wedding is off.
You check the time. 4.15 a.m. You’ve been staring at the ceiling for 24 hours, pretending to be asleep. Your phone alarm rings. It’s time to take a shower and go to work. Because the baby needs to eat … and the bills need to be paid … and no matter how badly your heart is crushed … life. must. go. on.
♫ Electrical storm ♫ U2 ♫